Canal Plus is looking very bullish about the Anglo-French drama Versailles. France’s leading pay-TV player has ordered a second season of the 10-part epic before the first season has even debuted — that’s a first. Canal, along with Capa Drama, Zodiak Fiction and Incendo, said today that production is just beginning with shooting to start in early 2016.
The English-language series covers the first years in power of the young Louis XIV. Season 1 sees him at age 28 and on the cusp of greatness with his vision for the Court of Versailles. Season 2 will find Louis four years later, now an emancipated sovereign with a wily understanding of the workings of power.
Season 1 kicks off in November in France. Super Channel and Bell Media are carrying in Canada; Movistar in Spain and BBC Two in the UK, where it will air early next year.
Showrunners are David Wolstencroft (The Escape Artist) and Simon Mirren (Without A Trace). Season 2 is written by Andrew Bampfield (D-Day 6.6.1944), Audrey Fouché (The Returned), Jamie Brittain (Skins) and Tim Loane (Teachers).
The cast is an international roster with Brit George Blagden (Les Misérables, Vikings) playing the Sun King.
“Versailles is the next step in the international co-production strategy we are now pursuing with our partners,” said Fabrice de la Patellière, Head of French Drama and Co-productions at Canal Plus. “This new season, that we aim to develop with renewed originality, will be a full-blown immersion into the absolute power of Louis XIV.”
Added Claude Chelli, Director of Capa Drama: “King Louis XIV ruled France for 72 years, so there are still many stories to be told, in the same style and with the same contemporary approach that we established in Season 1. So it is with great relish that for the second season, we are going to take the series into the realm of women, love potions and poisons.”
A Canal+ Création Originale, it’s co-produced by Zodiak Fiction, Capa Drama, and Incendo. Exec producers are Mirren, Wolstencroft, Claude Chelli (Braquo), and Anne Thomopoulos (Rome). Yves Saint Laurent helmer Jalil Lespert is director on Season 1. Zodiak Rights handles world distribution outside Canada, where it’s sold by Incendo.